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Artist and Patron in Postwar Japan

Artist and Patron in Postwar Japan: Dance, Music, Theater, and the Visual Arts, 1955-1980

Copyright Date: 1982
Pages: 336
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  • Book Info
    Artist and Patron in Postwar Japan
    Book Description:

    This work explains how and why Japan supports a community of professional dancers, musicians, production companies, and visual artists that has nearly tripled in size during the past 25 years.

    Originally published in 1982.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5539-1
    Subjects: Performing Arts, Art & Art History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-1)
  4. CHAPTER 1 Art for Society’s Sake
    (pp. 3-27)

    “These are nonsense pictures,” shouted a young Tokyo artist late one afternoon in November 1980. “They are worthless junk!” With a meter-long pipe, Yamashita Kaname systematically slashed thirty-seven works by Umehara Ryūzaburō and other leading Japanese painters at the Tokyo National Museum of Modern Art; he managed to rip three million dollars’ worth of oils and watercolors before he was stopped. “I want to become a famous artist,” he told the security officers who seized him. “Umehara’s paintings are nothing but coloring-book drawings. “Why did people consider the twenty-three Umeharas he had just gashed so valuable, the attacker wondered, when...

  5. CHAPTER 2 A Poverty of Patrons
    (pp. 28-56)

    Japanese businesses spend three times as much money every day entertaining on expense accounts as they contribute to private nonprofit groups, including the arts, in a whole year. The corporate wining and dining, at $14.5 billion for the year ending March 31, 1980, was so great that it surpassed the national defense budget by $2 billion. According to the National Tax Agency, the private nonprofit sector—including schools, welfare and research groups, and arts institutions—received just $128.8 million in corporate contributions, about 2 percent more than the previous year.¹

    Business firms are the merchant-princes of contemporary Japan, now that...

  6. CHAPTER 3 Arts and the State
    (pp. 57-79)

    When the Agency for Cultural Affairs announced with much éclat in September 1972 that an ancient tomb with well-preserved wall paintings had recently been uncovered at Takamatsuzaka, the Japanese public suddenly grew intrigued with archaeology and historical restoration. That same month the agency was busy getting ready for the largest autumn arts festival it had ever held, presenting new creative works by performers from all over the country. September 1972 is also when the cultural agency took over planning for the most popular art show ever seen in Japan, theMona Lisaexhibit that drew 1.5 million people to the...

  7. CHAPTER 4 Arts to the People
    (pp. 80-104)

    Painting, sculpture, and most arts of the stage were monopolies of urban elites in Japan, as in renaissance Italy, starting with the fifteenth century and continuing until modern times. Crafts and popular entertainments thrived at the same time in smaller towns and villages. When heavy industrialization drew millions of new workers to the cities after 1900, the urban arts, in both traditional and modern garb, began to spread downward socially and outward geographically until they became the standard forms of artistic expression for most of the population a half-century later. Yet painters and performers congregated more and more in the...

  8. CHAPTER 5 The Visual Arts: Show and Sell
    (pp. 105-143)

    “Star artists sell well, popular art sells well, but good art doesn’t.” This flinty epithet sums up life today for Japan’s 30,000 professionals in the visual arts, according to the contemporary print maker Honda Shingo, who drives a pickup truck to gather old newspapers for recycling because he cannot make a living from his art.aYet each year more than 10,000 students of Western-style art apply for the fifty spaces in the entering class at Tokyo University of Fine Arts, five times as many as in 1970. Most who are not admitted end up at one of the fifty other...

  9. CHAPTER 6 Theater: Playing Safe
    (pp. 144-180)

    Polish and profit are the hallmarks of Shiki, Japan’s largest modern theater company. Shiki divides its actors and actresses each year into eight sales teams and sends them around to corporations to sell tickets. “Banks and hospitals are especially good customers,” says Aoi Yōji, who occasionally helps to direct productions, “because they both employ lots of people from Shiki's chosen market—women between graduation from high school and marriage.”¹ By handing out theater tickets to their employees, the banks and hospitals build good will in these poorly paying occupations. By filling the seats with young women, Shiki perpetuates the essentially...

  10. CHAPTER 7 Music: Cultivated Clienteles
    (pp. 181-215)

    “Japan made a great effort right after the war to become a ‘cultured country.’ People thought almost no sacrifice was too great to educate their children in a refined manner. It became socially respectable to learn a musical instrument, especially for young women.”¹ This is how Tsunematsu Yukitoshi, vice president of the Japan Musicians’ Union, explains the gargantuan growth and remarkable feminization of the Japanese musical world since 1945. Until the early twentieth century, most who practiced applied music or the other polite accomplishments were men, and the substance of their art was entertainment. Only after World War Two did...

  11. CHAPTER 8 Dance: Contemporary Classics
    (pp. 216-243)

    Hundreds of proud parents and fidgety children pack the municipal concert hall on a late spring afternoon almost anywhere in Japan to watch their daughters and sisters dance in the yearly recital of the local ballet school. Powerful speakers pour forth the familiar Tchaikovsky themes as the ten-year-old in her white tutu runs onstage to dance Odette or Odile fromSwan Lakewith a guest prince from a major Tokyo ballet company. The audience claps politely after the three-or four-minute pas de deux, the child is smothered in praise and gardenias, and the parents shell out fifty dollars to photographers...

  12. CHAPTER 9 The Vertical Mosaic
    (pp. 244-252)

    Posing as a fan carrying a bouquet, the dancer Hanayagi Genshu brushed past guards at the stage entrance, dashed to the dressing rooms, and stabbed Hanayagi Jusuke, head of the dominant school of classical Japanese dance, after a concert one evening in February 1980 at the national theater in Tokyo. Genshū’s weapon, concealed in the flowers, inflicted two minor cuts—just enough, she told police, to call attention to her twelve-year campaign to end the headmaster system in the traditional arts. The dancer had been virtually excommunicated by the school after appearing nude onstage in 1968, and ever since she...

    (pp. 253-292)
    (pp. 293-310)
  15. INDEX
    (pp. 311-324)
  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 325-325)